For generations, Delray Beach citizens have stopped for classic burgers and ice cream treats at Doc’s All American restaurant. Locals and visitors driving past 10 N. Swinton Avenue associate the 1950s eatery as part of the community’s culture and history. Recently, the treasured dining establishment has come close to being sold and torn down. However, if approved, a proposed mixed-use development could end up preserving the landmark restaurant. Can a zoning deal save a beloved Delray icon from demolition?
The Proposed Building at Atlantic and Swinson
Banyan Fund LLC, a Delray-based development company, plans to build a three-story, retail, and office building at Atlantic and Swinton. The new 44,870 square-foot structure will stand to the west of Doc’s and be completed in an art-deco style. However, Doc’s will retain it’s original 1950’s façade and get an extended awning to provide diners with more room to enjoy meals outside. Inside, the restaurant will undergo a total renovation of its dining and kitchen areas.
Presently, there is a vacant lot and a Dunkin at the proposed site. While the changes to Doc’s do not require zoning approval, the other two lots will. Banyan contends that the mixed-use development is an opportunity for the City of Delray Beach to expand commercial property interest west beyond Swinton Avenue. The developer reportedly argued that the two lots that would be used for the project are under-utilized. Presently, the 1,329 square-foot Dunkin building has an assessed value of $175,660 and a $1.3 million land value. The Doc’s building is assessed at 168,232, with the land value at $770,609. The developer contends that the new use would make a more marketable use of the valuable underlying property.
According to a report, the City of Delray Beach’s Historic Preservation Board voted against the zoning change on July 1. However, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) supported it on July 13. In mid-August, the City of Delray Beach Planning and Zoning Board approved the requested zoning change. Next, Banyan will need to gain initial approval from the city commission. After developing more detailed plans, the developer will come back again for final approval. The zoning request requires that the area be altered to provide for the project’s size. Without the approval, the proposed three-story project will not be possible under the current zoning constraints. Project developers also plan to seek a historic designation for Doc’s before submitting their zoning change plans to Delay city commissioners.
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